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Walden: Migrant kids left in vans overnight ‘unacceptable’


Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., reacted with dismay Tuesday to new reports that last year, 37 migrant children, ages 5 to 12, were left in vans overnight as they waited to be reunited with families at Port Isabel Detention Center, Texas, calling such action “completely unacceptable.”

Here’s his full statement:

“This latest report is completely unacceptable. Last year, I led a bipartisan delegation down to Texas to tour facilities where children detained at the Southwest border have been held, including Port Isabel. To now learn that children as young as 5 years old were left in vans for more than 24 hours is simply indefensible.

“I support enforcement of our nation’s borders, but I want to make something very clear — I strongly believe that children should not be separated from their parents. Period. And those separated should be cared for as if they were our own children until they are reunified with their families. This is not who we are as Americans. I expect a prompt explanation from the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services about this failure,” said Walden.


In July 2018, Walden led a bipartisan delegation of members down to McAllen, Texas to tour part of the Southwest border, a port of entry, a central processing facility operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility, and an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter.

In June 2018, Walden, along with Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter to HHS stating that children should not be separated from their parents. The letter also sought information from HHS to ensure that children who are in ORR’s custody are properly cared for while in ORR’s care.

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